Nudge is an organisation that is situated on Union Street, its base called ‘The Plot’ is where I met Wendy Hart. Nudge bring buildings back into use for the local community. The Plot is inspired and named after an allotment, connoting lots of different projects and businesses that the community needs to thrive. It includes a selection of street food vans, a second-hand curtain shop, and access to bikes to help increase children’s confidence. Before Covid-19, Nudge encouraged members of the community to meet in the greenhouse area to foster conversations surrounding health care particularly local people who have multiple health care needs to ensure not all health care stops, if one health need stops.
Another building Nudge owns, The Clipper, is an old pub which has been converted into affordable accommodation upstairs for separated parents to be able to have their children safely visit as well as a marketplace downstairs for locals to sell goods.
Nudge also commissioned a new way of storytelling on the street with an augmented reality mural. By downloading an app, and holding a phone up to the wall, the mural comes alive and moves.
On an exciting note, Nudge has just purchased the Millennium Building on Union Street with the support of The Rank Foundation. Co-directors Hannah Slogett and Wendy Hart are excited to take on the project of converting the building into a space for music events and community activities. Nudge anticipates The Millennium building being COVID secure, due to the amount of space, meaning it can open the doors as soon as possible and provide events and activities to the community. With a firm belief that collaboration is key, Nudge wants creative ideas from local residents of how the building can contribute to both the community and local economy.
The purchase of The Millennium Building is exciting for locals and has generated media interest as it was empty for 15 years and Phil Davies, The Rank Foundation’s Associate Director for Plymouth, spoke to Plymouth Live:
“Rank has close historical ties to the Millennium building, dating back to the early 1940s when Rank acquired Gaumont cinemas – of which Plymouth’s Gaumont Palace was one, before it became the Top Rank Entertainment Centre in the 1960s”
“But Rank’s financial support for Nudge Community Builders isn’t about the past; it is firmly rooted in an optimistic view of the future – one in which the continued regeneration of buildings in Union Street supports community cohesion, helps to deliver better community activities and services, and in so doing helps to reverse both social and economic decline.”
Wendy explained that their shared vision of bringing everyone together started in the building on the corner, where volunteers offer soup and support to the local community.
My biggest take away is it is clear Nudge values bringing buildings back to community use. I asked Wendy if they are inspired by another town or following a model to which she replied they are not, they listened to locals say ‘it’s a shame they let Union street get like that’ but locals could never pinpoint ‘who’ let it get like that and as local volunteers and community members, Wendy and Hannah decided to make a change and to ‘not wait for big developments to happen’ but instead ‘change as a community’.
For more information about Nudge, please visit nudge.community
I met Ken Bromage at Greenhook Fishing to see how they intend to use Boatbuilding and Fishing to employ people, primarily ex-armed forces, who have faced challenges with employment to develop new skills. As you may have seen, Greenhook Fishing was featured on BBC Spotlight.
Upon arriving at the boat yard, I saw the first two hulls of the sailing vessels and Ken explained the intentions of Greenhook Fishing,
“The initial intention is to develop fishing vessels that will be powered by sail or oar; these vessels will use hand lines and will fish for targeted species contributing to sustainability and will have minimal environmental impact. Alongside these activities we will be developing a Fish Processing and Curing business to maximise the added value of our catch, it is the end to end process from sea to consumer that will allow us to pay cooperative participants a living wage.”
Ken and I had a conversation about how the traditional working days of Monday to Friday, from nine to five, can be a barrier to employment. Therefore, honesty and an ethos of ‘under commit and over perform’ form the basis of a trusting relationship with new employees. Employees can work flexible to their needs and not let down the organisation.
“The long-term business model is cooperative and as the Organisation moves from charitable funding to self-sufficiency, the elements of the Organisation will migrate to cooperative status. This will allow employment flexibility”
“The intention is to create 28 permanent jobs within the fishing cooperatives and a further 5 jobs within the Boatyard. These will be a mixture of part-time and fulltime hours”.
Ken is inspired by the difference it will make to the community in Plymouth as well as seeing first-hand people being discharged from armed forces and unable to cope with civilian life. It is due to the experience many ex armed forces employees have faced that the training at Greenhook takes place in a supportive environment, offering flexible employment and opportunities for the future. Unlike the share fishing model whereby employees are paid based on how many fish they catch; the model Greenhook will follow is a consistent monthly living wage. By spreading the wage across the year, it takes into account the issues around addiction by providing a stable and more normal way to live in society.
“In terms of the next stages, we will be completing the fitting out, launching and commissioning of our first two sailing vessels, The Geoffrey Rowe and Alice May and the Twilight our towing and workboat.”
Like all organisations this year, Green Hook has been affected by Covid-19 however plans to “commence commercial operations in late March early April 2021.” BBC Spotlight are to follow the launch and do a follow up segment.
For more information about Greenhook Fishing, please visit greenhook.org
The Stonehouse Voice
The Stonehouse Voice is a not-for-profit community newspaper for the Plymouth Stonehouse neighbourhood. I met Alan Qualtrough who believes there is a news gap for real stories about local people. After Alan recalled an extensive career to me, he said he wished he had entered the third sector sooner.
“The newspaper will eventually be community-owned with a succession policy for local members to take-over the operational management. It has an Editorial Board, and a Mission Statement that commits to supporting local residents tell their own stories; reflecting the rich heritage and culture of Stonehouse by ensuring local people are at the heart of everything it does; be free of charge; and will be inclusive and act with integrity and respect.”
After reading the Autumn 2020 copy myself as well as meeting Alan, I can see that The Stonehouse Voice is rewarding and important for both the community and writers.
“The focus will be on upskilling local people to write and produce each publication. For each edition, there will be workshops for content development, creating the news agenda for a forthcoming publication, and the design and production of the publication. It is hoped that this engagement will give residents a voice in the development of local creative opportunities and encourage creative growth in time for the British Art Show in Plymouth in 2021.”
For more information about Stonehouse Voice, please visit www.stonehousevoice.org/
I really enjoyed my work trip to Plymouth. It was a great start to my position at The Rank Foundation as the Digital Communications Officer and I look forward to meeting more projects and charities over the next year (although it may be zoom for now).